Like a Phoenix from the Ashes, Lockboxer Rises Out of Personal Catastrophe

First, a close friend loses everything in a house fire.  Not long after, close family members are rocked when a flood destroys their belongings.  What can be done in the face of tragedy and loss? For the noble minded the only thing to do is to work to better prepare your friends and neighbors for the next catastrophe to strike. This was the story told by Jennifer Morehead, CEO and founder of Lockboxer, a site to track your stuff that makes a refreshing use of shopping APIs to find out how much your stuff is worth.

Lockboxer is a passion project created in Chicago, IL with the primary goal of providing a simple, valuable, high quality service that makes it possible for people to manage their stuff.  It takes the home inventory process from a process dominated by black and white forms and enriches it with product photos and automatic value estimates from used or new product prices.

Lockboxer is a mashup of the eBay API, Google Shopping API and AddThis API.  It allows you to catalog your stuff so that you’ll be able to more accurately understand the amount of insurance needed to cover replacement costs in the event of a tragedy.  At least that was the primary motivation.  The process of establishing a home inventory hasn’t yet been solved in an awesome way, Morehead said.  Sure, there are home inventory specialists, as well as solutions from Quicken and KnowYourStuff, but the Lockboxer team saw an opportunity to improve the User Experience.  Their offering is unique in that it realizes that the value of a home inventory extends beyond the application to home owners insurance.

Think of all the items you keep in your home.  I would guess that many people have acquired a lot of objects that are unneeded or unwanted but in great condition.   It you cataloged all the items in your attic or storage unit, how many would you find that you could do without?  Lockboxer integrates with eBay, making it easy to post items up for sale directly from your inventory. Lockboxer understands that a home inventory can be a tool for simplification. The site also pulls in donation locations and will keep a tally of donated items for tax time.

So, if you have too much stuff, or a desire to see shopping APIs used in a new way, check out Lockboxer.

It seems that Lockboxer is heading into a large market based on a few public statistics.  The largest self storage company in the US, Public Storage Inc, had revenues of $1.73 billion in 2010.  The top five companies in the self storage industry account for only 12% of the total market.  This demonstrates that there’s a lot of money being spent on storage of stuff, and potentially a lot of room for people willing to address the needs of people with too much stuff.

Be sure to read the next Mashups article: Best New Mashups: Sharing Your Photos